Caroline Orr Bueno, Ph.D Profile picture
Apr 25 13 tweets 4 min read Read on X
Look, I obviously know the circumstances are different, but there is a ton of overlap between what is going on now and the various iterations of the so-called campus free speech wars that we’ve seen for years. We know how this will unfold. Here’s a sneak preview.
The stories you hear in the media will be the most extreme examples that can be found, and nearly all of them will be fundamentally misrepresented based on the biases of the person telling the story. This will fuel a cycle of escalation that few people on either side want.
Just like we’ve seen the emergence of so-called war/conflict influencers, we are once again seeing the rise of the campus speech war influencer, and once you let those people take over, they’ll steer things towards the extremes because that’s where the attention they seek is.
And of course, along the way, the original motivation for these protests will be lost entirely, as partisans and culture warriors co-opt these campus protests and turn them into a vehicle for their own personal agenda, or worse, the malicious agenda of a hostile outside actor.
There has been a coordinated & well-funded effort to destroy higher education in America for many years. The people behind this are clever & experienced, and they know how to attract new supporters by obscuring their destructive intent behind the veil of a righteous cause.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ve seen me write about this topic. A lot.

The dynamics are different today, but the fundamental premise remains: College campuses are being turned into battlegrounds for a wholly asymmetric conflict; a billionaire proxy war.
The groups that have coordinated the years-long campus culture wars even provide training on provocation, infiltration, media manipulation, & more.

Colleges do not. They’re totally unprepared b/c they don’t even know what they’re up against.
When you look at the situation in its totality, it looks like colleges are being used as laboratories to test different models of repression, exclusion, & bigotry — & then the resulting intergroup conflict is used to learn how to most effectively stifle dissent.
I have so much more to say here and I’ll put it into an article, but it’s just stunning to watch this play out over & over again, and to know exactly how it will unfold next. Watch as they turn college students into the next antifa bogeyman. It’s coming; the media will eat it up.
So I guess my advice for now is, don’t let yourself become a tool of destruction used in a billionaire-backed effort to destroy the institutions that are standing in the way of their next power grab and challenging their ability to non-consensually shape our shared future.
I witnessed a different iteration of this unfold from 2016-2018 on college campuses up-and-down the West Coast. I got to see how that laid the groundwork for the Proud Boys & Patriot Prayer, and how the same forces that brought them together, divided those who might fight back.
Also, yes, there are blatant & intentional efforts by malign inauthentic accounts to inflame the online discourse around the ongoing campus protests.

If you’re seeing stuff that looks “off” but you aren’t sure what it is, send it my way (DM or

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More from @RVAwonk

Apr 16
FYI: There has been a huge surge in the number of deepfake videos — some of which are quite well done — on this platform in the past few days. These are probably among the best quality deepfakes I’ve seen at this scale; most viewers are unable to tell that the videos are fake.
Some of the deepfakes are related to the Iran-Israel conflict; others focus on domestic issues in the U.S., including multiple that sought to sow hostility between Black Americans and immigrants. These videos were explicitly pro-Trump, but it’s not clear who produced them.
Other deepfake videos I’ve seen on X in the past few days have focused on violence & civil war, with some claiming to show acts of heinous violence on camera. Still others have shown “footage” of people yelling slurs in someone’s face, or crowds of unruly people breaking things.
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Mar 28
Since I’ve had some people ask about it, I’ll give you my very brief thoughts on the absolutely ridiculous conspiracy theories about the Key Bridge collapse.

Firstly, many of the people spreading the most outlandish claims don’t actually believe in them. It’s engagement bait.
Secondly, we are at a point where any event that attracts a certain amount of attention is going to become a magnet for conspiracy theories & other forms of participatory disinformation. Most of the narratives are laundered — ie, they’re not new or unique to this event.
Third, it’s important to understand that most people who actively participate in constructing alternate realities have integrated this into their core identity. The various competing narratives out there end up becoming a way to signal affiliation with certain groups & stances.
Read 7 tweets
Mar 15
I told you this was going to happen and now here we are.

In science, when we don’t understand something, we don’t assume that means it doesn’t exist. In medicine, if they don’t understand something, it doesn’t exist to them. It’s wild.…
I didn’t think they’d start denying the existence of long COVID quite so soon, but it was clear it was coming.
Saying long COVID doesn’t exist not only fails to help those suffering from it, but it actually makes their health outcomes worse due to distress, isolation, and betrayal trauma from being dismissed by those who were supposed to help them.
Read 9 tweets
Feb 3
NEW: Russian state media is amplifying civil war rhetoric and promoting the Texas border convoy, and there’s evidence that accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency are being ‘reactivated’ to promote a Texas secessionist movement.

My latest:…
Propaganda outlets RT & Sputnik, which together function as one of the major instruments of Russia’s disinformation machine, have been amplifying both sides of the border conflict — a tactic straight out of the disinfo playbook — and promoting the right-wing border convoy.
They have published dozens of articles focused on the border conflict in recent days, which is significant because points of major focus on RT & Sputnik don’t just reflect the news cycle — they actually tell us something about Russia’s foreign policy priorities.
Read 10 tweets
Jan 26
Trump is openly calling for states to take up arms against the federal government, which is as close to calling for civil war as you can get without actually using the words. This is an alarming escalation and this situation could spiral out of control very, very quickly. Image
Some essential reading regarding Trump, Abbott, Texas, and the threat of civil war:
I have been writing about this exact moment for 8 years now. Extremists have been preparing for it for even longer.
Read 5 tweets
Jan 15
There’s been a lot of academic debate about mis/disinformation recently — a refreshing change from the usual discourse in this area — but something I’ve noticed is that everyone argues their POV based on a very specific definition of misinfo that doesn’t usually align w/ reality.
Exposure to misinfo on its own, in the absence of other factors, is not that impactful or persuasive usually. BUT people often aren’t exposed to misinformation in isolation. It comes along with things like changes in social network, social norms, or external events like war.
Furthermore, it tends to have insidious, longer term impacts that might manifest first as subtle changes in news consumption, which in turn changes your information environment and media exposure. This tends to coincide with changes in social influences and norms.
Read 8 tweets

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